What is QRadar?
IBM QRadar is an enterprise security information and event management (SIEM) product. It collects log data from an enterprise, its network devices, host assets and os (Operation System), applications, vulnerabilities, and user activities and behaviours.
IBM QRadar Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) helps security teams accurately detect and prioritize threats across the enterprise, and it provides intelligent insights that enable teams to respond quickly to lessen the impact of incidents. By consolidating log events and network flow data from tens of thousands of devices, endpoints, and applications distributed through your network, QRadar correlates all this different information and aggregates related events into single alerts to accelerate incident analysis and remediation. QRadar SIEM is available on-premises and in a cloud environment.
Before we go deep dive into the working principles of the SIEM tool and its deployment in your infrastructure, you should have some knowledge about IBM QRadar architecture components. QRadar is customizable as per your logging needs where you can scale its deployment in its infrastructure to add different modules, devices, and endpoints. The operation of the security intelligence platform consists of three layers, and applies to any deployment structure, regardless of its size and complexity.
Let us now discuss some more about QRadar SIEM architecture and how it works. IBM QRadar collects, processes, correlates and displays the events in real-time. This information flows from its agent components to the end-points which then provide valuable insights to manage and monitor your information system. This is generally done in the form of alerts and red-handed responses to the threats. You can add modules to its infrastructures like the Risk Manager, Vulnerability Manager, and Incident Forensics. The modules also assist in preventing losses, solving data breaches, and probable future cyber attacks.
Also Read about What is threat intelligence in detail…….
The Three Layers of IBM QRadar Architecture: What Are They?
It works the same irrespective of your organization size and the counts of the components in a deployment. The QRadar SIEM architecture consists of three main layers responsible for all its functionalities. The architecture of QRadar works the same irrespective of your organization size and the counts of the components in a deployment. The three layers architecture can be easily understood by keeping in mind the following IBM QRadar SIEM architecture diagram. Then, we’ll move ahead with each of them, namely,
- Data Collection
- Data Processing
- Data Searches
1. Data Collection
Data collection is the first layer in the QRadar architecture with a mission of collecting everything at your network. It is where the log data or flows are collected usually with the Syslog protocol from your network or applications. This includes information acceptance from events, log files, flows, IPS, firewall, configuration files, packet captures, and so on.
You can use collectors to aggregate the event and flow data. The collected information is then parsed usually by the Device Support Model(DSM) Editor. The next step comes of the normalization to present it in a usable format before it moves to the processing layer.
The key functions of QRadar are focused mainly on flow data collection and event data collection.
Flow data is the network/session activity data between two hosts on a network generated upon communication. QRadar translates or normalizes this raw information into flow records such as ports, bytes, IP addresses, and packet counts.
Event data means the real-time events happening in the user’s endpoint like firewall denial, logins, proxy connections, network failure, user email, VPN connections, or any other events.
Now, what if it is not able to detect the log source? The data is then sent off for the auto-detection to the traffic analysis engine. Whenever a log source is found, a configuration request is sent to its console to add it.
In short, the Collection Layer is responsible for the following functions:
- Aggregating events and flows using protocol
- Managing and monitoring those events in queues to restricting
- Parsing raw facts into structured and usable fields
- Inspecting the unknown log source by means of automatic discovery by DSMs.
- Forward events to other systems, or SIEM solutions
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2. Data Processing
After data is collected, it is passed off to the second layer of the architecture of QRadar called the processing layer. It processes the events and flows through the Custom Rules Engine (CRE), which generates alerts, and then it is stored for persistence.
In the CRE, the customs rules are created on the console by the users and are matched with the events. Now, due to a customized set of rules, if the conditions match against the events, then the actions are taken into consideration. They are then sent to the Magistrate on the console that creates offence rules, manages them, updates status, and stores them in a database.
The event processor does the live streaming of the data to the console. This immediately avails on the Log Activity section and is then operated in real-time. Other features like its Risk Manager (QRM), Vulnerability Manager (QVM), and Incident Forensics aggregates various events and provides some more functionalities.
- QRadar Risk Manager(QRM) provides a map of your network topology and collects its infrastructure configuration. You can use this to analyze the risks by implementing rules and altering your network.
- QRadar Vulnerability Manager(QVM) scans your network data, processes or manages the vulnerability events collected from other scanners, and uses it to find various security risks in your network.
- QRadar Incident Forensics(QIF) performs comprehensive forensic investigations, and replays complete network sessions.
3. Data Searches
In the third layer, the processed data is available to the users for searching, reporting, analyzing, alerts, or offence investigation. In distributed endpoints, the console does not work for event and flow processing. Instead, it is just used primarily for the user interface. Users can perform administration tasks as required from the user interface on the QRadar console for their network. And all the facts and figures are collected, processed, and stored on the All-in-One appliance.